–Codename Avocado: Marc Ambinder lays out what he calls President Obama’s “massive expansion of clandestine military and intelligence operations worldwide, sanctioning activities in more than a dozen countries and giving the military’s combatant commanders significant new authority to conduct unconventional warfare.” Among other things, he reports that the program, once codenamed Avocado, allows the U.S. to insert personnel into Iran. The New York Times Mark Mazzetti also has the story, with more details but not the fruity nickname.
–There is turmoil in the upper ranks of Saudi Arabia’s “morality police,” the bearded, stick waving enforcers of religious law, who tend to shut down restaurants and scatter joint gatherings of men and women. The Financial Times quotes one person close to Saudi government explaining the effort to rein in the regular crackdowns by the–no joke–“Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.” “The king wants to create a normal, relaxed atmosphere for people here,” the person said.
–The White House continues to claim that the thing it may or may not have told Joe Sestak about a job if he dropped out of the Senate race was totally above board, even though it was not so above board that the White House is willing to say what it said in the first place. The best White House correspondent in the business, Peter Baker, lays out the details.
–Still no word on what constitutes an “inappropriate physical relationship” in South Carolina–holding hands? a lingering hug? a slap on the butt? good ol’ fashion sodomy?–but the The State newspaper reports that the race is heading “toward turmoil.”
–The new Texas textbook standards–call it “free market,” not “capitalism”; question the separation of church and state; read up on the moral majority–may be migrating to California. But a state senator from San Francisco is fighting back.
–Rob Simmons is out of the Connecticut Senate race, setting up a Linda McMahon/Richard Blumenthal Smackdown! (Sorry, could not resist.)
–Afghan spooks are accusing Pakistani spooks of backing a recent suicide bombing that killed six NATO soldiers.
–The national crime rate drops again in 2009, despite a brutal recession. Behavioral economists search for trends that could explain: A decline in Miracle Whip consumption? No movies released starring Tom Cruise? The Sleep Number bed?
–Best Drudge headline in a while (though I have not clicked the link, I swear): Sorority girls gone wild: Sex under banquet tables, rampant vomiting, using plates as 'missiles' during food fights...
–The Supreme Court confirmation battle is not much of a battle anymore. So Jonathan Chait weighs in with “Our Idiotic Supreme Court Confirmation Process.” Who would disagree? Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan, goes even further, knocking Elena Kagan for looking “dowdy” and failing to cross her legs. (Maybe I should write a column about Kagan and Miracle Whip consumption.)
–Note to Congress: If you attack Glenn Beck’s sponsors for ripping off his viewers, he will make a website about your weiner.
–One of Iowa’s finest, Paul Gray, the bassist for Slipknot, is dead at 38.
–And finally: President Obama will head to Capital Hill to meet with Republicans today, behind closed doors. More politics in the guise of comity. Try. Really. Hard. To. Get. Excited.
What would Adam not have missed?